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U.S. sues School District over beard policy

Photo: daystar297/Flickr

by Emma Jacobs for NewsWorks

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the Philadelphia School District over a grooming policy that it says violates employees' religious freedom.

The agency filed the Title VII challenge on behalf of a Muslim school police officer who was asked to trim his beard.

The Philadelphia District implemented a grooming policy for school safety officers in 2010 limiting beards to a quarter-inch. The lawsuit says that Siddiq Abu-Bakr, who had been working for the District for two decades, told his supervisor that cutting his beard would violate his religious beliefs.  

Abu-Bakr initially filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the suit.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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Comments (21)

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on March 7, 2014 3:23 pm
This is nonsense and a frivolous suit. He should be counter sued for that. Everyone has dress codes and cleanliness guidelines. How come this hasn't been a problem with any Hasidic Jews? Do they have any in the district? Just make him put a sanitary mask on if he insists to keep it.
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Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on March 8, 2014 2:07 pm
I definitely think it is important to our constitutional freedoms that when a school policemen is sitting in the hall talking to a kid and ignoring all the chaos and hall walking kids around him; he should have a full beard in accordance with his religious beliefs. What a Great country this is.
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 8, 2014 4:05 pm
and the length of a school policeman's beard has "what", exactly, to do with the education of our students? We cannot afford to keep the schools open, buy textbooks, keep librarians, keep counselors, we are laying people off left and right, we are demanding that administrators and teachers take draconian pay cuts, yet these educational leaders at 440 are worried about the length of a beard?! What a bunch of rocket scientists. Our district has to be the laughing stock of the entire country at this point, they deserve to be sued. Good for that cop, now if we could only get CASA and the PFT to show the same resolve and sue the State over Act 46!
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Submitted by DM (not verified) on March 9, 2014 3:18 pm
Isn't it great that we go to such lengths to protect religious beliefs? As a Jew, I would be treated as a second class citizen in a Muslim country and in some Muslim countries (for instance Saudi Arabia), I'm not even allowed in. Yet, they certainly are quick to scream for fairness when they are in the U.S.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 9, 2014 7:12 pm
You can't make a distinction between political and religious leaders and the people? It a shame you have to turn this into religious prejudice. We have freedom of religion and if people are being treated unfairly for religious beliefs they should fight it!
Submitted by DM (not verified) on March 9, 2014 7:30 pm
I agree with your point actually. However, it is a fact and there's nothing wrong with putting it out there as a reminder. I'm sorry that fact upsets you. I always support religious freedom actually.
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Submitted by meagain (not verified) on March 10, 2014 8:29 am
This has nothing to do with education. Who cares if he has a beard? That's just natural male hair growth! Maybe that grooming code should be changed. I think he should continue to fight the rule. It sets a good example to all, not just Muslims, for someone to stand up for their beliefs.
Submitted by Allen (not verified) on April 25, 2014 8:27 pm
I definitely think it is important to our constitutional freedoms that when a school policemen is sitting in the hall talking to a kid and ignoring all the chaos and hall walking kids around him; he should have a full beard in accordance with his religious beliefs.
Submitted by Allen (not verified) on April 25, 2014 8:14 pm
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Submitted by Allen (not verified) on April 25, 2014 8:54 pm
You can't make a distinction between political and religious leaders and the people? It a shame you have to turn this into religious prejudice. We have freedom of religion and if people are being treated unfairly for religious beliefs they should fight it!

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